Backtalk September 11, 2006


I‘m afraid that in his zeal to pronounce the Republican Party dead before one vote has been cast, Justin is wallowing in irrational exuberance. The GOP’s obituary is premature on several counts:

Fewer House races than ever before are competitive due to gerrymandering.

In state after state, GOP legislators and state officers have thrown thousands off the rolls who might tend to vote for other parties, and made it harder for the rest of us to prove our right to vote. In Arizona, we used to be able to request an early ballot, vote in the comfort of our homes, and mail it back with a signature. Now we must show up at the polling station with a driver’s license and TWO other forms of identity proof, not to mention the signature.

Hackable Diebold and similar electronic voting machines are being used in more states than ever. In many cases, there is no hard copy back-up. In those cases where there is a paper trail, samples have shown that the electronic and hard copy tallies can vary significantly.

Beware of the old adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” I have researched the platforms and views of many so-called antiwar Democratic candidates, and in almost every case they hedge and dance and call for withdrawal of U.S. troops to outlying Iraqi bases, or prattle about fuzzy timetables. At the same time, many of them are as aggressive or more aggressive with regard to Iran in order to stay on the right side of the Israel lobby.

Most of the liberal Democrats I talk to still don’t get it that our occupying forces are the problem, not the solution. While talking out of one side of the mouth about the need to withdraw in an “orderly” fashion, whatever that means, they also moan about the inability of those poor Iraqis and Muslims to govern themselves, and the need for our beneficent presence and wisdom to help straighten them out.

Under these circumstances, and with less real choice at the voting booth than ever before, I don’t see the GOP being shown the door by voters. But even if they did sustain some appreciable losses, I don’t see a resurgent Democratic Party changing the course of foreign policy much.

~ Brian Schuck

What Is Victory?

Israel declared their objectives for their attack and invasion of Lebanon – “to free the two soldiers captured by Hezbollah, disarm that organization, and remove it from a position in which it could threaten Israel.” The Israelis did not achieve those goals, but instead retreated back from where they came, Israel. Sorry, but it was the Israelis who declared the rules and objectives of their war, and according to their definition, they failed (lost). Perhaps they should make it easier to declare victory next time, through more ambiguous objectives.

But hey, welcome to the club. Are there any countries who haven’t lost a war or two in their history? The U.S. lost their share: Vietnam and the continuing (25 year) War on Drugs were complete defeats by our own definitions. And this War on Terrorism, who is winning? Our government insists on a military defeat of its enemies in an insurgency (Iraq) – that definition is setting us up for another failure (loss) as well, wouldn’t you say?

~ Walter Cole, Seville, Spain

Our Fascism, and Theirs


In your essay “Our Fascism, and Theirs,” you quote Justin Logan from the Cato Institute as saying: “Can we get a name for inappropriately invoking the appeasement of Nazis?”

There is such a name! Well, there is a name for wrongly likening an opposing view to Nazism, and it is called Godwin’s Law. It can be found here.

Mike Godwin invented it after seeing the Nazi accusation being thrown about one time too many. Rightly, he concluded that you can make it fit virtually anything.

Anti-abortion? You got the death penalty for abortion in the Reich.
Pro-abortion? The Nazis also killed people.

Anti-guns? The Nazis also banned guns.
Pro-guns? Yeah, but they banned them for Jews; other people could easily get a permit.

Against taxes? The Nazis also hated the poor and weak.
Pro-taxes? The Nazis also loved control.

Against war? Our enemies are like the Nazis.
Pro-war? The Nazis also loved war.

Oh, what a wonderful game. Anyway, the exact definition of Godwin’s Law seems to vary. Some say it means that using the Nazi slur automatically makes you lose a debate; others say it means it’s almost inevitable the slur will show up in a long Internet debate. Others say Godwin’s Law is simply the name for using the Nazi slur. I am not sure of the exact definition, but Godwin’s Law is nevertheless useful, and I’m leaning toward the last one.

~ Stell


Do you see a difference?

The U.S. military announces the death of a soldier:

The British military announces the death of a soldier:

~ Rusty Scalf

I have been searching every search engine I can think of for the answer to what I think is a very simple question, but can not find an answer anywhere. Could you help? I would like to know how many American troops are currently deployed in the war. Thanks for your time and I hope you can help.

~ Ashley

Mike Ewens replies:

Last count I saw 140,000. You can also try the DoD’s news/release archive:

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